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A Professor Like Me: The Influence of Instructor Gender on College Achievement

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  • Florian Hoffman
  • Philip Oreopoulos

Abstract

Many wonder whether teacher gender plays an important role in higher education by influencing student achievement and subject interest. The data used in this paper helps identify average effects from male and female college students assigned to male or female teachers. In contrast to previous work at the primary and secondary school level, our focus on large first-year undergraduate classes isolates gender interaction effects due to students reacting to instructors rather than instructors reacting to students. In addition, by focusing on college, we examine the extent to which gender interactions may exist at later ages. We find that assignment to a same-sex instructor boosts relative grade performance and the likelihood of completing a course, but the magnitudes of these effects are small. A same-sex instructor increases average grade performance by at most 5 percent of its standard deviation and decreases the likelihood of dropping a course by 1.2 percentage points. The effects are similar when conditioning on initial ability (high school achievement), and ethnic background (mother tongue not English), but smaller when conditioning on mathematics and science courses. The effects of same-sex instructors on upper-year course selection are insignificant.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13182.

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Date of creation: Jun 2007
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Publication status: published as Florian Hoffmann & Philip Oreopoulos, 2009. "A Professor Like Me: The Influence of Instructor Gender on College Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13182

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Cited by:
  1. Price, Joshua, 2010. "The effect of instructor race and gender on student persistence in STEM fields," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 901-910, December.
  2. Alexei G. Orlov & John Roufagalas, 2012. "Performance Determinants in Undergraduate Economics Classes: The Effect of Cognitive Reflection," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 11(2), pages 28-45.
  3. Behncke, Stefanie & Frölich, Markus & Lechner, Michael, 2008. "A Caseworker Like Me: Does the Similarity between Unemployed and Caseworker Increase Job Placements?," IZA Discussion Papers 3437, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00677438 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Louis-Philippe Morin, 2013. "Do Men and Women Respond Differently to Competition? Evidence from a Major Education Reform," Working Papers E1305E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  6. Scott E. Carrell & Marianne E. Page & James E. West, 2010. "Sex and Science: How Professor Gender Perpetuates the Gender Gap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1101-1144, August.
  7. Talia Bar & Asaf Zussman, 2012. "Partisan Grading," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 30-48, January.
  8. Thomas Breda & Son Thierry Ly, 2012. "Do professors really perpetuate the gender gap in science? Evidence from a natural experiment in a French higher education institution," PSE Working Papers halshs-00677438, HAL.
  9. Paredes, Valentina, 2014. "A teacher like me or a student like me? Role model versus teacher bias effect," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 38-49.
  10. Josep-Oriol Escardíbul Ferrá & Toni Mora, 2010. "Incidencia del género del profesorado en el rendimiento en matemáticas de los alumnos. Evidencia desde Cataluña," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 5, in: María Jesús Mancebón-Torrubia & Domingo P. Ximénez-de-Embún & José María Gómez-Sancho & Greg (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 63, pages 1259-1272 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.
  11. Chang Da Wan & Roland K. Cheo, 2012. "Determinants of Malaysian and Singaporean Economics Undergraduates' Academic Performance," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 11(2), pages 7-27.
  12. Karthik Muralidharan & Ketki Sheth, 2013. "Bridging Education Gender Gaps in Developing Countries: The Role of Female Teachers," NBER Working Papers 19341, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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